The Western Suburbs Magpies hosted the Newtown Jets in Game 1 of the Tom Raudonikis Cup at Campbelltown Stadium today but were outclassed in the end 56-10.
Conditions were near perfect for the start of play with Newtown running with a strong wind in the early stages of the first half.
The Magpies fans were unsure of what to expect from the young and inexperienced outfit after they were coming off a bye last week and a heavy defeat the week before last. But their spirits were sky high whenit was the Magpies who scored first six minutes into the game. Front rower Aaron Sweeney was able to stand in a tackle with three defenders clinging to him and off load to new recruit, former North Sydney Bears and Kingsgrove Colts centre, Tuki Jackson who made a break down the eastern grandstand and passed to fullback Zoram Watene who raced 30 metres to score. Nigel Millgate converted for Wests to lead 6-0.
Wests played very well for the first 20 minutes getting up in the faces of the Newtown players and causing errors to creep into the Jets game. However the Jets were able to hit back at the 21st minute mark when halfback, Mark Kheirallah scored after good leadup work from fullback Alofa Alofa and Peni Tagive to score. Kheirallah converted his own try and it was 6 all.
Then the story of Wests' season to date returned. Missed tackles started to occur and the defence was unable to lock up the man with the ball. From a drop out, former Wests and Balmain front-rower, Andrew Pearn charged upfield from the 40 metre line towards the Magpies tryline. From the play the ball, another former Magpie, Kurt Kara gave a short pass to Isaac Liu who crossed under the posts at the 25 minute mark. Kheirallah added the extras for a 12-6 scoreline in favour of Newtown.
Newtown were in again at the 28 minute mark with former Campbelltown and Wests Magpies junior, Peni Tagive scoring after winning the race to the ball from a last tackle grubber kick by Jack Littlejohn. Kheirallah was again on target to make the score 18-6 to the Jets.
Wests were given back to back penalities with 7 minutes left in the first half but were unable to take advantage and Newtown made them pay. With 3 minutes left on the clock, Kurt Kara was bouncing off tacklers to link up with former NZ Warriors U20 winger, Adam Henry who then found Peni Tagive in support scoring his second try and improved the position by racing around under the posts. Kheirallah made no mistake to make it 24-6. Then, not for the first time this season, Wests were ruled off side from the kick off. With just seconds left on the clock, Andrew Pearn was able to burrow his way through the defence to score underthe posts. The conversion attempt was successful and it was 30-6 at half time.
If things were going to improve for Wests in the second half, it started in the worse possible fashion. From the kick off, replacement forward Alan Daly was ruled to have lost the ball on the first tackle on Wests 30 metre line. Wests were able to survive the ensuing Newtown onslaught but three minutes into the second half, winger Sam Latu was able to score out wide pushing away attempted tackles. The shot at goal was unsuccessful but Newtown held a commanding 34-6 lead.
Wests were able to score in the 52nd minute on the back of three consecutive penalities giving them field position. Winger Daniel Perkins scored in the corner after a scrum win 10 metres out with Dean Parata breaking from the scrum sending a perfectly timed pass to Perkins who scored with just centimetres to work with. The conversion was waved away and Newtown led 34-10.
Newtown scored in the 61st minute after receiving consecutive goal line drop outs. With the Wests defence tiring, replacement centre Issac Dargan was able to carry defenders over the line to score in the corner.The attempted conversion was waved away - Newtown 38 Wests 10.
Four minutes later, replacement forward and yet another former Magpie, Blake Williamson took great delight in scoring against his old club by carrying defenders over the line to score beside the goalpost. Mark Kheirallah added another two points for a 44-10 scoreline.
Newtown scored on the back of a penalty in the 72nd minute when Sydney Roosters recruit Jack Bosden scored with a huge dummy pass - ala Brett Kenny for Parrarmatta in the 1981 Grand Final and strolled to score under the posts without a hand being laid on him. Jack Littlejohn added the extras for a 50-10 scoreline and the scoring was completed in the 75th minute, again off the back of a penalty when Adam Henry scored in the corner with Wests again unable to lock up the ball carrier. Littlejohn converted from the sideline for a final scoreline of Newtown 56 Western Suburbs 10.
The game again highlighted the lack of experience and depth Western Suburbs have this year. Its an all too familiar story coupled with lapses in defence. There were passages of play where the Magpies played very well, particularly in the first 20 minutes but they could not sustain the intensity for the duration of the match. Newtown's experience was there for all to see today and again will be one of the top contenders for this year's title.
For Wests, hooker Dean Parata continues to punch above his weight in this competition, while Aaron Sweeney and Daniel La Manna never stopped trying in the forwards. New recruit Tuki Jackson showed enough today to suggest that with some match fitness under his belt, he'll be a very handy addition to a very inexperienced backline.
The game also saw the NSW Cup debut of local Campbelltown junior, Keanu Rogers in the forwards. This time last year, Keanu was playing for Wests SG Ball and this was a big step up for the youngster who handled himself quite well in the run on side against a very experienced Newtown pack. His enthusiasim in the first half was one of the reasons Wests started so well. Also making his NSW Cup debut today was Greg Davis whose father Brett Davis played for Wests in 1986-87. Congratulations to both Greg and Keanu on their debuts.
Newtown 56 (Peni Tagive 2, Jack Bosden, Mark Kheirallah, Isaac Liu, Andrew Pearn, Sam Latu, Isaac Dargan, Blake Williamson, Adam Henry tries; Mark Kheirallah 6 goals, Jack Littlejohn 2 goals) defeated WesternSuburbs 10 (Zoram Watene, Daniel Perkins tries: Nigel Millgate 1 goal)
Half time - Newtown 30- Wests 6
1 Zoram Watene
2 Sharlon Taki
3 Aaron Teariki
21 Tuki Jackson
5 Daniel Perkins
6 Michael La Manna
7 Nigel Millgate (c)
8 Todd Makejev
9 Dean Parata
10 Aaron Sweeney
15 Daniel La Manna
19 Alan Daly
20 Keanu Rogers
12 Seffa Silafu
13 John Leiataua
14 Greg Davis
16 Henry Iuta
18 Alex Frail
1 Alofa Alofa
2 Adam Henry
3 Peni Tagive
20 Isaac Dargan
5 Sam Latu
6 Jack Littlejohn
7 Mark Kheirallah
8 Isaac Mallota
15 Kurt Kara
10 Mose Masoe
11 Jack Bosden
19 Tom Symonds (c)
13 Almad Ellaz
12 Nick Ehsman
14 Isaac Liu
16 Blake Williamson
17 Andrew Pearn
In the earlier games, Illawarra def SWSA 46-10 in the Harold Matthews while the Western Suburbs Magpies ended their SG Ball season with a bang by defeating the WA Reds 44-10.